2016 Mercedes-Benz E 220 d review
Isaac Bober’s launch-based 2016 Mercedes-Benz E 220 d review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: The Mercedes-Benz E- Class E 220 d might just be the Mercedes that takes the E-Class to the masses thanks to its epic diesel engine and competitive pricing.
2016 Mercedes-Benz E 220 d
Pricing From $92,900+ORC Warranty three years, unlimited kilometres Safety Not Tested Engine 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel Power/Torque 143kW/400Nm Transmission Nine-speed automatic Body 4923mm (L); 1852mm (W); 1468mm (H) Weight 1680kg Spare Tyre No (E-Class rides on run-flat tyres) Fuel Tank 66 litres Thirst 4.1L/100km
THE MERCEDES-BENZ E-Class has always been the vanguard for the rest of the range, showcasing technologies and styling that will eventually trickle down the line (the S-Class is in a world of its own). And so it is with this new E-Class which heralds a raft of active safety (read: autonomous driving) features, headlights and a new diesel engine that will eventually see service in a whole range of smaller Mercedes-Benz vehicles, including SUVs.
Professor Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development said: “The E-Class is the core of the Mercedes-Benz brand and in the past has repeatedly redefined the standards in the executive-class segment. Now it carries this tradition into the future with a wealth of top-class innovations. The new E-Class takes another major step towards autonomous driving. In addition, it enhances efficiency, safety and comfort, reduces the stress level when driving and intensifies the motoring pleasure.”
What is it?
Last week, we attended the local launch of the new E-Class E 220 d ($92,900+ORC) which is likely to be all the E-Class you’ll ever need. And that’s despite a raft of more powerful models arriving later in the year, and I’ll come back to the engine shortly.
For now, it’s worth mentioning that all new E-Class variants come standard with the Driver Assistance package PLUS, Widescreen cockpit, KEYLESS-GO with hands free access, 360-degree camera, Steering wheel with touch control buttons, front electric seats with memory function and LED High Performance headlights and Stardust effect LED taillights.
What is the Driver Assistance Package PLUS, well, it includes active brake assist which via radar is able to detect an impending collision and can either support emergency braking or provide autonomous emergency braking, it can also detect pedestrians crossing the path of the vehicle and help the driver to take evasive action, by helping apply increased steering lock. It also includes Attention Assist which is able to detect driver drowsiness, and also Crosswind Assist which is able to assist, as you could probably guess, in countering the effects of strong crosswinds.
Beyond this the new E-Class is longer than its predecessor, has a longer wheelbase and greater track, which means there’s a little bit more room inside than before and, in theory, should provide a more agile and stable base for improved ride and handling. The key dimensions are: 4923mm long (up from 4880mm); 2939mm wheelbase (up from 2874mm); 1852mm wide (down from 1854mm); 1468mm high (down from 1471mm). The track width at the front is up by 20mm to 1620mm and up by 7mm at the back to 1626mm. Bootspace is down by 10 litres to 530L.
What’s it like?
If you’re shopping at this end of town then you’re also probably looking at the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, Audi A6 and even, if you’re a little quirky, the Lexus GS. But, as good as those cars are, the interior of the E-Class, even in this entry-level E 220 d is a cut above.
Slip behind the steering wheel and everywhere you look and touch are fixtures and fittings that feel solid and luxurious with a fit and finish that even Audi struggles to match in this class. And the new ‘widescreen cockpit’ is just amazing. It sees two 12.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen displays stretching front the centre of the dashboard right across behind the steering wheel.
The instrument cluster offers three different looks: Classic, Sport and Progressive and because the entire display is digital, owners can customise the inside of their car to show only the information they want to see. In keeping with the Mercedes-Benz motto you probably never heard: “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road” the E-Class offers touch sensitive controls on the right-hand side of the steering wheel allowing the driver to use finger/thumb swipes to control the infotainment and communications. There’s also a touchpad with controller on the centre console which can even recognise finger tip handwriting.
Behind the wheel, the seat is nice and comfortable and should be good on long distances but as the launch drive was only 50km, I can’t be certain of that. The rear seats offer a 40:20:40 split fold which is pretty handy, and you’ll seat three adults across the back, or two chid seats. That said, whoever draws the centre back seat will have to share foot room with the other two passengers thanks to an intrusive transmission tunnel. There’s a centre armrest which includes a small storage box and two cupholders; it sits flat, so, spilling drinks shouldn’t be an issue. The boot offers 530 litres of storage space and is a usable shape with a decent opening.
To the engine. The new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine offers 143kW at 3800rpm and 400Nm from 1600rpm to 2800rpm. This engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission and drinks a combined 4.1L/100km.
Thumb the starter button and you’ll probably find yourself pressing it again just to make sure the car is turned on, only to realise you’ve turned it off. Yes, the diesel engine in the E 220 d is that quiet. Whether at idle or under part throttle there’s no hint of clatter, indeed, as the revs rise there’s actually the faintest hint of aggression to the exhaust note but it’s very muted.
As you could imagine, with nine ratios the E 220 d tends to run to the highest possible gear and quickly, to the point where highway cruising sees you pulling less than 1500rpm. But don’t mistake that ‘fuel saving tune’ for laziness, because when you squeeze the throttle the gearbox will drop down through the gears like a scalded cat offering effortless acceleration. Sure, 400Nm of torque isn’t huge, but at 1680kg the E 220 d isn’t particularly heavy; 0-100km/h takes just 7.3 seconds.
The E 220d we drove at the launch ran cost-optional adaptive damped sports suspension and it was very impressive and, even on the short launch drive, showed that even for such a biggish vehicle it could be driven quite quickly on tight and twisting roads, but beyond that the drive just wasn’t long enough to form a complete picture. We did get to sample the standard suspension in a petrol E-Class and that isn’t, as you’d imagine, as dynamic as an E-Class with adaptive dampers. There’s a little more roll in corners and the standard non-adaptive dampers aren’t as quick to respond to sharper hits and, at times, it felt as if the car was skipping on broken surfaces. But, again, I didn’t get enough seat time to give a definitive answer.
In terms of steering feel, there’s very little feedback which is probably how E-Class drivers like it, although weight builds well off centre. The brakes offer a nice progressive action.
The ride itself, rather than the handling, is relaxed and even on the standard suspension is able to smother the worst of the road. There’s very little wind, road or tyre noise from inside the cabin and you could well imagine the E 220 d being a relaxing way to cover many, many miles.
The new E-Class hasn’t been tested by ANCAP, but arrives here with nine airbags, an active bonnet, traction and stability controls, and a raft of driver assistance systems outlined elsewhere in this review.
Note: The E 220 d pictured in this review has an AMG body kit, including wheels, fitted.